What’s the scoop on that protein?

tumblr_lxkaq8iIIx1r8lmvao1_500As you are finishing up your WOD and gathering your composure after giving it your all in class, you notice several of your fellow CrossFitters reach for their trusty ‘Blender Bottle’ filled with some sort of powder mixture.  What is it that they are drinking and why?  Most likely they are consuming some sort of variation of a whey protein powder – which is one of the more commonly used nutritional supplements around.  So, what is whey?

Whey is generally found as a result of the production of cheese. It was once thought of as waste by-product, but it is now found that it houses an impressive array of complete proteins.  These complete proteins are comprised of essential amino acids necessary for the synthesis of protein and for increased muscle development/recovery.  What makes whey unique is that the amino acids that are found in this protein unfortunately cannot be made by our bodies, thus the popularity of this product has risen for whey naturally happens to satisfy our body’s protein requirements.  But when it comes to protein powders, they are a couple of options available regarding the form in which whey is utilized.



The protein found in SFH Recovery is approximately 2/3 whey concentrate derived from grass fed, free range cows which are never treated with antibiotics or bovine growth hormones and approximately 1/3 essential amino acids for recovery.  Whey protein concentrate contains some fat and lactose.  Typically it is seen to be less processed and more whole, but has less protein than what can be found in a whey isolate*. If you’re mildly sensitive to dairy then you might be wary of utilizing a product with whey concentrate.  In addition to the whey protein concentrate, SFH also infuses their product with glucosamine and chondroitin for joint recovery and CoQ10 for energy synthesis.   All in all, the ingredients in SFH RECOVERY protein, truly seems to do just that – AID IN RECOVERY.

*Whey Isolate is about 90-94% protein, but it’s subjected to a more rigorous refinement process.

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The protein found in Progenex Recovery is a hydrolyzed whey protein isolate.  The hydrolyzation procedure “cuts” the protein into the tiny peptide sequences that can be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Fast absorption is essential to the recovery process, and these minute protein fractions have been proven to do just that. In addition to the this protein being easily absorbed it is virtually free of any potential allergens.  Although, the Progenex products lacks the supplemental essential amino acids, the whey in itself does supply the body with some natural occuring essential amino acids.  The hydrolyzation process is a great way of distinguishing itself from it’s competition, but whey in general is already highly bioavailable and easily absorbed into our bodies, thus absorption is rarely an issue with whey.

Now that you have an understanding of what ‘whey’ is and the products that we offer here at the box, you may be asking yourself WHEN should I be consuming a shake/nutrition post WOD?  According to Rob Woff, there is a period post exercise  where your muscles and body or most primed to restore/receive essential nutrients.  This window for optimal nutrient uptake aka “non insulin mediated glucose transport” is about an hour long, though we receive the most benefit 15 minutes post workout.  During this time period we can rush glucose and amino acids into the muscle without much insulin AND we improve recovery. For large WODs we can shift upwards of 50% of the day’s carbs into the Post Workout (PWO) period. Timing is critical if you want the most from this period of time!

So, which one do we, coaches, recommend for our athletes to use?  Either of these products will supplement your recovery, it’s basically a personal preference.  Progenex does have a bit more sugar in the formula which makes it more appetizing to many.  As a result of these excess sugars, your body could respond with insulin spikes to combat the excess sugars being consumed.  Regardless on which protein (real food or a supplement) you choose, make sure that you are consuming them within an hour post WOD, ideally 15 minutes post WOD.

Feel free to comment below if  you have any specific questions or concerns.




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  2. I have always been interested in the more natural whey protein powders. The SFH Recovery brand is definitely one that I would consider since it is derived from rBGH free cows. Choosing a protein powder can be confusing enough when considering the ingredients, type of whey, and when to consume it.

  3. I would always go with a hydrolozyed or hydrolysate type of whey, even a whey isolate before using such an inferior whey such as whey concentrate. There is no proven fact or science that backs up the effect of whey derived from rBGH free cows. Through the engineering process and filteration of the whey this element essentially has no factgor. Do the research on types of whey and the difference between grass fed and non grass fed before you waste your money…. Marketing is a great way to exploit people and their money! Additionally, there was an article on this exact topic in a crossfit magazine “the box” which supports my theory. Hope this helps!

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